THANK GOD FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; 
Praise Him, all creatures here below; 
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host: 
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

                God remains good and deserves our continual praise of thanksgiving even with the current state of affairs in our present fallen world. It’s easy to lose sight of who God is when the world’s focus is so set on praising and extoling humanity (the creature) instead of the Creator (Rom. 1:19-29). “Because when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful” (Rom. 1:21).

Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:8)

                God stands alone and apart from mankind (and all His other created beings) as He is incorruptible (Rom. 1:23), righteous (Psalm 119:142, 160, 145:17), cannot lie (Titus 1:2, Heb. 6:18), cannot be tempted with evil (James 1:13), and the list goes on. Since God is the source and embodiment of good, all good things flow from Him (as the above doxology says). James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” The word ‘lights’ means underived (not from something else) and absolute (the opposite of darkness) and so used specifically of God (John 1:4-5, 8:12, 1 John 1:5). “For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light” (Psalm 36:9). The entrance of God’s words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple and illuminates and guides ones way (Psalm 119:130, 105). Through God’s word one receives understanding and learns to hate every false way (Psalm 119:104). The word used for goodness in the Bible is many times synonymous with ‘grace’ or ‘lovingkindness’. The Bible reveals a kind, benevolent God who is tenderhearted, full of mercy, and slow to anger (Psalm 103:8, 145:8, Joel 2:13, Jonah 4:2). Because God is purely good and righteous, evil cannot dwell with Him nor can He take pleasure in lawlessness (Psalm 5:4).

                Our Creator has made clear the boundaries that He’s set for mankind but has also allowed men and women the capacity to choose (either to obey His good word and stay within His boundaries or not). The angelic beings must have been allowed free will as well (Jude 6, Gen. 6:2, Rev. 12:9). Lucifer (Satan) proved that angelic beings could become corrupted. It was Satan’s pride of his beauty that corrupted his wisdom and he became the ‘father of lies’ (Ezek. 28:17, Isaiah 14:12-14, 1 John 3:8, John 8:44).  Mankind also revealed its corruptibility after the first created man and woman chose to disobey God’s words and heed Satan’s lies (one being the desire to be gods themselves) (Gen. 3, Rom. 5:12-19).

                It’s only when one comes to terms with their sinful nature as well as their lost and helpless condition that they can truly embrace the greatness and goodness of God (Rom. 5:6-11, Eph. 4:22).

In the Bible, there are many examples of this: the lost son (Luke 15:11-32), the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14), David (2 Sam. 12:1-13), and Isaiah’s vision (Isaiah 6:1-5).  Even the suffering and patient Job came to the realization of who he was in comparison to almighty God and so learned the great lesson that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful (Job 42:5-6, 10, 12). We too can find God’s amazing grace and goodness when we come with empty hands and a broken, contrite spirit (Isaiah 57:15, 66:2). “In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil” (Prov. 16:6).

“In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).

                “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 4:4-9).

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15, Eph. 1:6-7).

                                Mankind has so much to be grateful for at the hand of God. The 107th Psalm is a great template for us today. This Psalm begins the fifth and final portion of the Psalms relating to the book of Deuteronomy (*see below note), which extols “God’s word the only good”. Its opening verse is, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”  The following phrase is repeated four times in this Psalm, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (with testament of why in between vs. 8, 15, 21, 31).  The Psalm ends appropriately with “Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the loving kindness of the Lord” (vs. 43). In order to observe these things one must see that God’s word is the only good, and pursue and meditate on it habitually and continuously (with thanksgiving) (Psalm 1:1-3).   

Laura

                                *The Psalms correspond with the first five books of the Old Testament (The Pentateuch). Book One: Genesis corresponds with Psalms 1-41 and concerns Man; Book Two: Exodus corresponds with Psalms 42-72 and concerns Israel as a nation; Book Three: Leviticus corresponds with Psalms 73-89 and concerns The Sanctuary; Book Four: Numbers corresponds with Psalms 90-106 and concerns Israel and the nations of the earth; Book Five: Deuteronomy corresponds with Psalms 107-150 and concerns God and His Word. The counsel of God re: His word shows that all blessings for man (book 1), all blessings for Israel (book 2), and all blessings for the earth and the nations (book 4) are bound up with living on the words of God (book 5) (Deut. 8:3). Disobedience to God’s words is the source of man’s sorrow (book 1), Israel’s dispersion (book 2), the Sanctuary’s ruin (book 3), and earth’s miseries (book 4). To study this interesting aspect of the Scriptures further, see The Companion Bible notes by E.W. Bullinger that precede the book of Psalms and are prior to each section of the five groupings.

2 Sources of All Voices

Disinformation may be the most powerful form of deception.

VOICE CHOICE

By Laura Kestly

Cacophony of voices

dictating one’s choices

Babbling media

on overload

Itching ears fall for gurus

indulge selfish egos

Lies spun and believed

 bought and sold

God’s voice reigns supremely

spoke the world into being

It is powerful,

pure, tried and true

Hearing ears bring forth true faith

believing what God says

discerning the truth

and His will.

BEHIND ALL THE VOICES TODAY ARE JUST 2 SOURCES.

One is good. One is evil. One brings forth life. One brings forth death.  To be able to discern between the two one must know the character and attributes behind the voices— for they speak out of what they are.

The voice that tempts the flesh is not from God (James 1:13-15, 1 Jn. 2:16). Contrarily, God provides a way for one to escape temptation (1 Cor. 10:13). God provided a way for Adam and Eve as well. It’s not only important to hear God’s voice, but to also obey it. God told the first couple that they could freely eat of any tree in the garden except of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they did they would surely die (Gen. 2:17).

 Sadly they were ensnared in Satan’s web of deceit and ate of what God warned them not to. Their disobedience to His Word brought sin and death into the world (Rom. 5:12, 6:23).  Here’s how Eve was beguiled (Gen. 3:13, 2 Cor. 11:3, 1 Tim. 2:14):          

1) The first lie (Genesis 3:1) involved QUESTIONING God’s Word, “Did God actually say…”

2) The second lie (Genesis 3:4) was in CONTRADICTING God’s Word (Gen. 2:17), “You will not surely die”. 

                This lie has become the foundation of Spiritism and man’s traditional belief regarding death.

3) The third lie (Genesis 3:5) was in DELUDING Eve to believe, “…you will be like God”. 

                This claim led to Satan’s own downfall (Isaiah 14:12-15).

Now contrast this with Jesus Christ’s responses to the devil’s temptations in the wilderness.

To each temptation, Jesus used God’s WRITTEN WORD of truth to counteract Satan’s lies (Matt. 4:1-11):

                “It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Deut. 8:3);

                “It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” (Deut. 6:16);

                “…For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” (Deut. 6:13).

                Is it any wonder then that the good Word of God is under such attack by the evil one in the world today?

The Bible is like no other book. No other book can make the great claim of its divine nature, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (literally God-breathed) (2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:20-21). 

The same voice Who spoke the world into being and upholds all things by the word of His power would condescend to communicate with humankind at all is quite amazing (Ps. 33:6,9, Gen. 1, Heb. 1:1-3, 11:3, Jer. 10:12). Unlike man’s predictions, the prophecies of Scripture have never been wrong.  Not one has failed and never will. Even archaeologic discoveries demonstrate that fact (not fantasy) supports the Old Testament narratives.  

                Since the Truth of God is spiritually discerned, in order to hear God’s voice, it must be approached with humility, reverence and a believing faith. (Rom. 10:17, Heb. 11:6, 1 Cor. 2:13-14). God’s Word is a living weapon sharper than any two-edged sword. It’s for the mature believer whose powers of discernment have been trained by constant practice, enabling them to distinguish good (the Spirit) from evil (the flesh) (Eph. 6:17, Heb. 4:12, 5:14, John 3:6).

The definition of deceit is concealment, or distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading.

                Satan continues to use the same tactics of taking God’s Word and twisting it just so, by omitting words or adding them to pervert God’s truth and His original intent. We must know God’s Word for ourselves and not just receive it second hand (Acts 17:11). It must be rightly divided and not taken out of context. One must not read into it what’s not there (2 Tim. 2:15, Rom. 15:4).

One can only stand against the lies and wiles of the enemy in God’s strength and armor (Eph. 6:10-11). “For although we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-5).

Be careful what your ears take in today. Discern the source behind what you hear. 

Ask yourself:

Does what I hear line up with God’s truth, attributes, and ways that are brought in love and promote the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23)? Or

Does what I hear come from the enemy that entices the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) ultimately bringing fear, confusion, and despair?

Do not be deceived with misinformation. Be ready to counteract it with, “But God says…”

                                                                                Laura